Swedish: Vasa

Maroseika

Moderator
Russian
Hello.
According to Wikipedia, the name of the House of Vasa is derived from the word "vase" which is the Swedish word for sheaf. The same is written on the site devoted to the Vasa ship: "The coat-of-arms represents a sheaf of wheat, a vase, and that is what gave the ship its name".

However I can't find anything like that in the dictionaries. And for a sheaf the Swedish words are also all different from "vase".
I always thought (maybe read somewhere) that the coat of arms was called "Vasa" just jokingly, because it really resembled a vase due to the ends of the sheaf lacing on its sides.

So is or was there really a word like "vase" in Swedish meaning "sheaf"?
 
  • AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    The name of the House of Vasa most likely came from the name of their seat farm (säteri) Vasa. The family had owned the seat farm since before 1376, and their original coat-of-arms can be seen here: Nils Kettilsson (Vasa) – Wikipedia
    And here's an article about Vasa sätesgård:
    Vasa, Skepptuna – Wikipedia

    It was Gustav Vasa who created the now well-known coat-of-arms of the House of Vasa, and it's more likely that the name was taken from the seat farm than the symbol on the coat-of-arms. My guess is that the symbol is a Roman "fasces", and why Gustav Vasa chose it was because it symbolises the power and jurisdiction of a magistrate, or in his case a king. Do remember that Gustav Vasa had seized the throne (the same as Henry Tudor in England), and there were other Houses with stronger connections to earlier monarchs and regents (riksföreståndare), and who could have a claim on the throne.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Incidentally, "fasces" is the root of the word "fascism" - also because it symbolised power, and the early Italian fascists identified with the Roman empire.

    Could "vase" be derived from "vasa", and separately the symbol was confused with a sheaf? And thus "vase" became a word for sheaf? I have no evidence for this, but can't think of a better explanation
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    The normal word for "sheaf" in Swedish is "(sädes)kärve", from the German "kerben". An older word is "nek", still used in the south of Sweden.
    The word "vase" or "risvase" is a bundle of twigs and branches submerged in water, used in fishing. Risvase – Wikipedia
    There is also "stormvase", also a bundle of branches, "fascine" in English.
    Fascine - Wikipedia

    That the symbol "fasces" in the coat-of-arms of the House of Vasa became to be confused with a "sheaf" is quite likely, most 'common' people were more familiar with a sheaf than a "fasces" or a "fascine".
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The word "vase" or "risvase" is a bundle of twigs and branches submerged in water, used in fishing. Risvase – Wikipedia
    There is also "stormvase", also a bundle of branches, "fascine" in English.
    Fascine - Wikipedia
    I'd just observe that those uses for sticks were very different to the Romans' instrument of corporal punishment:
    Roman fasces

    I was also surprised to note that some versions of the Vasa symbol seem to have handles that made be used for carrying a vase-like vessel, and/or ears of wheat!

    There seems to be all sorts of links and interwoven meanings here, and I doubt anyone will ever fully understand them all. But it's a fascinating discussion.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    I took and looked up members of the Polish House of Wasa, and interestingly on their coat-of-arms the symbol is clearly a sheaf of wheat.
    Vladislav IV av Polen – Wikipedia
    Jan Albert Waza – Wikipedia, wolna encyklopedia
    Karol Ferdynand Waza – Wikipedia, wolna encyklopedia

    The "handles" seen could be the "original" Vasa coat-of-arms symbol in the middle of a fasces. Check the symbol on Gustav Vasa's sigill stamp from 1521, and compare it with his coat-of-arms ftom 1540.
    Vasaätten – Wikipedia
     
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